Skip to main content

PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: The Open Championship (2022)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Jul 13, 2022
Xander Schauffele

The 150th edition of The Open Championship has arrived! Last week’s precursor at the Genesis Scottish Open in North Berwick, Scotland, saw players struggle to maintain par scores due to the heightened difficulty of playing on a links course. Ultimately, Xander Schauffele prevailed, dominating the middle rounds with a nine-under-par score after starting two-over-par on Thursday. Schauffele has replaced Scottie Scheffler as the player with the most momentum and confidence on the PGA Tour, winning consecutive events at the Travelers Championship and Genesis.

Reflecting on my recommended picks, most of them performed well, including Schauffele, with four of my six selections finishing inside the top ten. Tommy Fleetwood barely made the cut but delivered a six-under-par score across the final two rounds to climb into a T4 finish. Matt Fitzpatrick and Cam Smith also took different routes to ascend into the top ten, while Jon Rahm couldn’t stay under par in the final three rounds, dropping to a T55 finish. Aaron Rai, a former winner at Genesis, was my only selection to miss the cut with an abysmal +8 finish.

The 150th Open Championship will be held at the historic St. Andrews golf course on the beaches of Fife, Scotland. It’s a site with a rich, storied history that helped create the modern game of golf as we know it. St. Andrews is also the most popular destination for hosting Open Championships, as this will be its 30th time hosting the major tournament. St. Andrews was last played in 2015, where Zach Johnson won with a final score of 15-under-par, while Louis Oosthuizen won in 2010 with a final score of 16-under-par.

Plenty of golfers will make their second or third appearance at St. Andrews this weekend, while the younger players will debut. So I’ve narrowed the field to six of my favorite high-value prospects to target when constructing DFS lineups ahead of Thursday’s opening round. Keep in mind that Scotland is five hours ahead of the US Eastern time zone, so submit your lineups by the end of today. Then, let’s dive in to discover who gives us the best chance to cash lineups on Sunday afternoon!

Try Daily Fantasy Golf at DraftKings now >>

Previous Winners

  • 2021 – Collin Morikawa (-15) *Royal St. George’s*
  • 2019 – Shane Lowry (-15) *Royal Portrush*
  • 2018 – Francesco Molinari (-8) *Carnoustie*
  • 2017 – Jordan Spieth (-12) *Royal Birkdale*
  • 2016 – Henrik Stenson (-20) *Royal Troon*
  • 2015 – Zach Johnson (-15) *St. Andrews*

Relevant Betting Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Bogey Avoidance
  • Scrambling
  • Sand save percentage

Course Overview

The theme of St. Andrews has to be the double greens. Yes, you heard correctly. Many of the greens at St. Andrews measure up to 37,000 square feet, compared to the 8,000 square feet typically seen on PGA courses stateside. These larger greens are used for multiple holes on the course, meaning players will need to be hyper-aware of which flag pole to aim for when swinging from the tee or fairway. Not only are the expansive greens an issue, but they also have undulations, or small hills, creating extra difficulty for players’ putting game. Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus compared the greens at St. Andrews to roller-coasters due to their size and height fluctuation.

Sand bunkers are the water hazards at St. Andrews. Coastal winds should play a factor later in the weekend, a signature trait of links courses, typically located around or on beaches in the United Kingdom. While the Genesis Scottish Open, held at the Renaissance Club, had some trees to give players a visual cue, there are no trees for a frame of reference at St. Andrews. Understanding how to approach a lie, whether on the undulated fairways or greens, is where players will earn their stripes this weekend. It’s a par 72 that stretches to 7,313 yards, containing only two par 3s and two par 5s that offer respite from a grueling stretch of 14 par 4s, many of which tip well over 400 yards. Ball-striking is always a premium, but the flat-stick will be of the utmost importance to elevate DFS lineups into the green this weekend.

Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Xander Schauffele ($9,900)
I contemplated taking Rory McIlroy here, but Xander Schauffele is the best player in the world at the moment. The 28-year-old native of California went two years without a win but had consecutive victories at the Travelers Championship and Genesis Scottish Open, entering Thursday’s opening round at St. Andrews. Schauffele is ranked 31st in strokes gained putting and is an elite ball-striker. His 4.45 birdie average is the fourth-highest on the PGA Tour and will flood DFS lineups with points. In addition, Schauffele is the cheapest blue chip to acquire on DraftKings, so don’t hesitate and plug him as a value at under $10,000.

Patrick Cantlay ($9,400)
Patrick Cantlay has yet to win a solo event this season, but that doesn’t mean he should be faded this weekend. The 30-year-old American has a wicked hot putter, ranked 20th in strokes gained putting, while also averaging 4.44 birdies per round. Cantlay does tend to struggle converting greens in regulation; however, the expansive fairways and greens at St. Andrews will allow him to convert at a higher rate. It’s exciting to think about Cantlay in DFS lineups since he just earned a T4 finish at Genesis last weekend. Cantlay has four consecutive finishes inside the top 15, so there is a lot to like about him making his debut despite competing at one of the world’s most demanding links courses.

Tommy Fleetwood ($8,600)
Among the best salary-saving options on DraftKings is 31-year-old Englishman Tommy Fleetwood. He has been volatile this season, but a T4 finish at Genesis impressed, especially since he started with a +3 scorecard in the opening round. However, Fleetwood improved dramatically in the final three rounds at Renaissance Club, which shares many similarities with St. Andrews. He’s best in strokes gained around the green and is also a quality putter, ranking 39th in strokes gained putting. Four top ten finishes and eight top 25 finishes in 16 events indicate that the Englishman is on a mission to break through inside the top three for the first time at St. Andrews. He missed the cut in 2015, but he’s much further along in his development as a professional, making Fleetwood a solid bet in lineups this weekend.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000

Rory McIlroy ($12,000)
Not much needs to be said to defend Rory McIlroy. He has not played at St. Andrews since 2010, where he delivered an excellent nine-under-par finish in the first round before plummeting to eight-over-par in the second round. Then, finally, he settled into a rhythm and managed a T3 finish at eight-under-par. McIlroy was not present in 2015 during the most recent Open Championship at St. Andrews, but he’s been playing some of the best golf of his career this season. McIlroy has been on fire for three months, completing finishes of 2nd, 5th, 8th, T18, 1st, T5, and T19 in seven consecutive events. He’s ranked eighth in strokes gained putting and first overall in total strokes gained, with hardly any flaw in his iron game. So pay up to get the betting favorite into FanDuel lineups.

Louis Oosthuizen ($10,300)
It’s been a challenging year for the South African golfer. Louis Oosthuizen is only one year removed from four second-place finishes but has only two finishes inside the top 25 in 11 events this season. In addition, he missed the cut at his last event, the U.S. Open, roughly a month ago. So why am I recommending the struggling Oosthuizen? He won at St. Andrews back in 2010 with a score of 16-under-par, dominating the field with a seven-stroke lead that he manufactured with a seven-under-par opening round. He was nearly able to repeat in 2015, falling in a three-person playoff with a final score of -15-under-par. Based on his recent play, Oosthuizen might feel like an uncomfortable selection, but he’s seemingly mastered St. Andrews and is, therefore, a must-add to FanDuel lineups this weekend.

Joaquin Niemann ($9,800)
Joaquin Niemann has a ton of upside in his debut at St. Andrews. The 23-year-old Chilean golfer played well at Genesis last weekend, staying under par in the first two rounds and only straying one-over-par once to manage a T16 (-1) finish at a challenging links course. St. Andrews is a more intense challenge, but Niemann has the requisite tools and game to adapt and overcome these difficulties, particularly with his irons. He’s ranked 113th in strokes gained putting, which is a big reason his salary is below $10,000 on FanDuel. Nevertheless, Niemann averages 4.13 birdies per round and is skilled at scrambling, posting a 24.39 percent bounce-back rate, ranking 32nd on the PGA Tour. He’s available at a discount and succeeded at Genesis last weekend, so plug Niemann into lineups.

Try Daily Fantasy Golf at FanDuel now >>

Whether you’re new to daily fantasy golf or a seasoned professional, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Golf Glossary. You can get started with The Stats That Matter Most or head to a more advanced strategy — like How To Use Vegas Odds To Generate Your Lineup  — to learn more.

Matthew MacKay is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

DFS, DFS Advice, DraftKings, FanDuel, Featured, Featured Link, PGA